We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Our Big Island Lodging Question

Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
54 posts
38 reviews
Save Topic
Our Big Island Lodging Question

My partner and I are traveling to the Big Island in a few months and have our lodging, flights, car rental, etc already booked. We're currently staying 7 nights in Kona followed by 3 nights in Hilo. Our Kona lodging is an oceanfront townhouse at Kona Surf and Racquet Club. As I've been doing more research, I'm having second thoughts about staying in Kona and decided to switch to either Mauna Kea or Mauna Lani (rental in either area).

A bit about us: 30ish, no kids, no other couples coming. During our stay on the Kona side of the island, our main thing we probably will do is hang out at the beach, snorkel, do some shopping/exploring. We found some really great options at the Fairways, Golf Villas, and the Palm at Mauna Lani. We saw a few condos we liked (didn't seem like there was a big selection) at Mauna Lea.

From doing lots of searches on here, I have learned a ton of info about each area. It seems like Hapuna Beach and Mauna Kea Beach are where we'd spend more of our time but we'd certainly enjoy the good snorkeling beaches that Mauna Lani offer.

I think we're leaning towards Mauna Lani but its still up in the air. What is parking like at the beaches near Mauna Kea? I understand that if we stay in Mauna Lani, we can park at the 'gated' parking lot for the beaches at Mauna Lani?

Thanks!

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
27,263 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Our Big Island Lodging Question

Mauna Lani is a better choice IMO because of the better snorkeling, and you have several beach options within the resort area. The Mauna Kea beach, Kauna'oa, is beautiful, but probably just to go to once. You can secure a parking spot there if you go in the morning, and it's less crowded on weekdays. The two resorts are only 5-10 minutes away from each other.

Edited: 10 January 2013, 00:51
Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
54 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Our Big Island Lodging Question

Thanks Shea! I've read good things on here about The Point but I think we like the look of the condos at the Golf Villas more. Are any of the beaches walkable from the Golf Villas? Do you have a favorite location at Mauna Lani?

Thanks again.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
27,263 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Our Big Island Lodging Question

The Point units are older but much nicer than the Golf Villas. As an example, 2/2 Point units sell for 1.5 million and up while similar sized Golf Villas will run you about one third of that. The Point is oceanfront, the Golf Villas are in the middle of a barren lava field. If you Google Earth it you can see it quite clearly. They are, however, pretty close to each other and you can walk both to Makaiwa Bay and Honokaope Bay from the Golf Villas, although it's probably more pleasant to bike or drive the very short distance, especially if you're schlepping stuff.

Yes, the Point is my favorite location within the ML resort area. In fact, if there were no buildings on the island and I was given first dibs, that's probably right where I'd put my house. It's an unbelievably great location if like me you love ocean swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, and SUPing, plus the gorgeous fish ponds.

The pool at the Point is nothing special, but Id never spend a second there given its proximity to two of my favorite swimming and snorkeling beaches in the state.

Canada
Level Contributor
9,175 posts
40 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Our Big Island Lodging Question

We are frequent visitors to the Big Island, South Kohala area. We have stayed at a number of different properties in both Waikoloa Beach Resort & Mauna Lani Resort.

Units of course will vary in decor and location within each complex.A recent stay saw us at a lovely unit at Golf villas.

The property is well maintained and we enjoyed our 2+ weeks very much.

We stayed in a 1800 sq ft 3 BR + Loft unit in Building "I" that had a distant ocean view. The nearby views were of the meticulously kept Mauna Lani south course. The outdoor kitchen proved very handy.

Everything in the unit was top notch, well constructed and thoughtfully designed. The owners had a lovely collection of high end Hawaiiana artwork...very enjoyable.

Golf Villas were built around 2005/6......and the modern details are evident in the fit and finish. Appliances included a wine cooler/ fridge in our unit... Very nice

The Beach Club parking pass is a rather handy perk...although we did find ourselves venturing outside Makaiwa Bay on several occasions.

Good Luck in your search for accommodation in South Kohala......you have chosen a truly special destination.

Safe Travels

Hayden Lake, ID
Level Contributor
1,534 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Our Big Island Lodging Question

We started going to Hawaii in 1976 and have gone almost yearly since. We have always stayed oceanfront until last year. Against my better judgement we decided to try Mauna Lani. Oceanfront was out of our budget so we picked a condo at Fairways at Mauna Lani. It was the best vacation choice ever. The beach club access was priceless, restaurants and shopping were minutes away and the general location and weather were perfect. I listened to Shea and will be forever grateful. Shea and Kk offer very valuable info with no agenda.

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
38,545 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Our Big Island Lodging Question

Thanks Karen! I am SO glad you had such a wonderful time. (That was my agenda. ;-) )

rsoxtim,

I know it's hard to choose. If you resign yourself to driving over to the beach, all the drives are six of one half dozen of the other, and it is nothing. You won't be like me having to schlepp. The parking is secure too.

Don't be afraid to go for saving some money if the outdoors is what really matters to you.

Mauna Kea Resort has two complexes, of which a couple is probably best suited by the very quiet Kumulani. These are two million dollar condos originally and they came with perks of hotel amenities club, meaning you get treated like a Mauna Kea hotel guest (which is a nice thing?).

But the cheaper ones on VRBO now don't include the package, so watch out for that. With the guest services, you park not in the public beach access but in the hotel guest parking, and you can arrive when you like, no having to go early and stay all day. You also arrive at the north end instead of walking in down the service road and back up the hill (which is hot). You get chair and umbrella service.

I have not tried the Hapuna part of the package when I stayed there briefly, but I assume you also get loungers. You are entitled to use pools at either hotel and spa and exercise I think, tennis and golf at guest rates IIRC. (Check.)

Kauna'oa is a fabulous beach although it can at times be windy.

It depends on whether you want to snorkel more or beach it more.

Hapuna is a long beach almost cut in two in winter by a rocky outcrop. The south end is very busy with the public and the north end where the hotel is is low key as a lot of the public don't bother to walk up there.

Mauna Lani really does have the snorkeling that's best.

If you come in the late spring, all the beaches should be awesome.

Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
54 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Our Big Island Lodging Question

Wow, a huge thank you for the additional information everyone. We've narrowed it down to about 5 condos in the Fairways or Golf Villas on VRBO. All seem to be great, just a matter of determining our favorite. We liked The Point and even though the location is better than the Fairways or Golf Villas, we preferred the latter to the former (as well as the prices).

So as long as we arrive at the Mauna Kea beaches (Hapuna, etc) early enough in the morning (especially on the weekend), we should be fine with getting a parking spot in the non-resort guest area?

Karen - Agree on KK and Shea. I've been doing a ton of research on this forum and their advice given to others that I've read has been really helpful in our planning!

Thank you again everyone...extremely appreciated!

LA
Level Contributor
10,043 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Our Big Island Lodging Question

Mauna Kea is the beach with the difficult parking situation. Hapuna is a state park, so there is abundant parking there, although I prefer the hotel end of the beach.

Some nice photos:

hawaiigaga.com/big-island/beaches/mauna-kea-…

hawaiigaga.com/big-island/…hapuna-beach.aspx

California
Level Contributor
6,325 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Our Big Island Lodging Question

Another vote for the Mauna Lani area (or even Waikoloa if you need to). We tried to get Mauna Lani Point for our trip later this month but it wasn't available, ended up picking the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel instead. Which ever unit you pick in that area you can't go wrong.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
27,263 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Our Big Island Lodging Question

Both the Fairways and the Golf Villas are lovely and you'll have a good time at either. The Fairways are on the Fairmont side of the resort area and are located adjacent and near to other condo complexes and the Shops at the Mauna Lani. The Golf Villas are on the opposite, south end, on the golf course and with nothing much around it. This may appeal to you or not. The Golf Villas are a short and easy walking distance as I noted above to Makaiwa and Honokaope, the Fairways a good 1.5, maybe 2 miles away, so that may be a factor but both should come with a beach parking pass that will let you drive up and park at the beach club at Makaiwa Bay.

I would get the unit numbers and owner info from both the units that Wanderlust and Karen stayed at because they were both happy with them and they both have excellent taste :-) Units can vary widely in terms of interiors so it's nice having references as to specific units. I believe they also both got very good deals on their units.